I have anxiety: how do I tell it to my environment?

Anxiety problems not only produce discomfort from the immediate experience of noticing how feelings related to stress and anguish spread through our body.

In addition, they put us in the complex situation of having to manage our personal relationships at the same time that we suffer that excess of anxiety, and of explaining what happens to us to avoid misunderstandings, so that others can take it into account and, if necessary , so that they can help us in key moments

In this article I will offer several tips on how to explain to people around you that you have an anxiety problem on a day-to-day basis.

The main thing you should know about anxiety problems
Let’s start with the key ideas that you need to understand in order to know what anxiety problems are. This is a term used to refer in a general way to a set of experiences associated with discomfort, that have to do with anxiety, and that subtract more quality of life than they provide us.

On the other hand, anxiety is a completely natural psychological and physiological phenomenon that in most cases has nothing to do with any psychopathology; in fact, it is a resource that helps us survive and adapt to life’s complications, predisposing us to be alert in special situations and to react quickly to avoid unnecessary dangers and risks.

However, as with any other biological or psychological trait, what is normally adaptive, can lead to alterations in health (physical or mental, respectively).

As anxiety is always linked to a certain context and, on the other hand, it is related to the way in which we have learned to manage emotions, almost without realizing it we can develop a maladaptive way of experiencing anxiety.

In some cases this causes us to suffer general discomfort caused by excessively high levels of anxiety, and in the most extreme cases, this discomfort takes a qualitative leap and becomes part of a psychopathology, such as any of the anxiety disorders ( phobias , Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc.).

On the other hand, there are other psychopathologies that are also capable of making us too anxious: major depression, OCD, drug addiction, etc. In other words, all anxiety disorders are anxiety problems, but not all anxiety problems are psychological disorders .

But regardless of whether we suffer from a psychological disorder that is behind our anxiety problem, what we do when interacting with the environment and when managing our emotions and thoughts can help us overcome discomfort and gain quality of life. Of course, in the event that we suffer from psychopathology, it will be essential to go to therapy.

Explain anxiety problems
How do I communicate that I have anxiety problems?
When communicating with your environment everything related to your anxiety problem, keep the following tips in mind.

1. Don’t use “labels” to describe your essence
As we have seen, anxiety problems are always linked to a certain context and to a history of previous learning, which you may have consciously or unconsciously carried out. In other words, the fact that you frequently feel anxious does not say too much about the core of your identity, nor does it describe your essence .

Keep this in mind when explaining what is happening to you, because if you use stigmatizing labels with you, you will be predisposing others to do so as well. You are not an anxious person, but you are in a situation that generates anxiety problems, which can go away just as they have come.

2. Use examples
Anxiety is a complex phenomenon, and it is difficult to understand what it consists of by sticking to abstract ideas. Better that you combine them with examples and practical cases about how anxiety problems affect you in your day to day .

3. Explain how what happens to your relationships can affect your relationships
It is important that you put special emphasis on the social implications of your anxiety problems, since explaining this part is the one that has the most practical utility . Of course, if you want your interlocutor to understand you at a deeper level, also explore the other areas of your life.

4. Make it clear that your reaction to anxiety spikes is not something you choose.
Extreme anxiety has the ability to make us lose control of what we do . For this reason, it is important that others understand that what we do in those moments does not represent us as much as what we do at any other time. This way you will avoid misunderstandings.